When I first painted, I used Arches 140 pound cold press paper. I was told this was good artist grade paper. At that time, I had no idea that there were so many different types of substrates or surfaces on which to paint. And I certainly didn’t know that other than paper or canvas (linen or otherwise), that there were substrates that were made of plastic or rocks!
Then, suddenly, in an art store, I saw Yupo paper. Yupo isn't paper; instead it is plastic. It isn't like cold press paper; and, while it is closer to hot press paper, it really isn't that either. No one ever seems to answer the question of what side should you start painting. However, everyone seems to have their own ideas as to whether or not you should use this plastic/paper/substrate for watercolors. And, until recently the North Carolina Watercolor Society, didn't allow its use in their contests.
The first painting that I did all by myself was done on Yupo. I entered it in 2009 into a show at the Campbell House in Southern Pines, NC; it won Honorable Mention. I was so pleased. You would have thought I had won a 100 million dollar lottery. Alas, it didn't sell. No one ever bought it and I finally ended up giving it to my neurologist in NYC. She liked it.
I rarely do watercolors anymore, as it is very difficult for me to hold my hands steady enough. Only a few of my paintings have won any awards, and the highest award was third place. My work does sell, but not at any fantastic price as other artists' work may.
However, similar to many artists, I am my own worst critic. If I hate what I paint, others like it, and they might even buy it. During juried shows (while this implied to me a jury not a one and only one judge) paintings seem to be evaluated based on how a judge thinks watercolor should be used. This often means that those of us who do mixed media will not be considered for Best in Show. After all, the whole idea of Mixed Media is the idea of “what if”. What if I used, glazing medium, with alcohol ink on top, followed by, acrylic paint, mixed with….Okay, anything could be mixed. Judges don’t understand this concept. And often, even other artists also don’t understand mixed media, and especially not if the painting is abstract.
This week, I went off on three different painting tangents. For my first painting, I used pouring medium with alcohol inks on a canvas substrate. For my second painting, I used the same pouring medium with alcohol inks on the canvas, but I added acrylic paints to it. And then during my third try, I used terra skin paper (this isn’t paper at all, it is actually made from rock and it is, one reads, good for the environment).
And so, good reader of my blog, does the substrate matter to you? Or is it the painting that is important? If you were the judge, to what standard would you hold the painting? At Westminster you are not judging the dog, but the breed of dog. Is this the same for an artist’s painting?
You be the judge.
Painting with Pouring Medium and Alcohol Inks
8x8 Canvas with 1.75 Edge
Pouring Medium with Alcohol Ink and Acrylic Paints
on 8x8 Canvas with 1.75 Edge
8x8 (I think!) Terra Skin with Alcohol Inks including Metallics